Alchemy Academy archive
August 2004

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Subject: ACADEMY: Isaac Hollandus
From: Adam McLean
Date: 2 Aug 2004

Does anyone have any biographical information on Isaac Hollandus? It seems that the earliest appearance of the works under the name of Johannes and Isaac Hollandus appear in manuscripts dated to the 16th century at the earliest.

I know Isaac Holland is often described as being of the 15th century, but have any scholars definitively identified him or managed to date the works?

Adam McLean



Subject: ACADEMY: Morienus again
From: Jose Rodriguez Guerrero
Date: 3 Aug 2004

Dear Rafal:

Sorry. I couldn't send you an earlier answer. Right now the beach is my
"laboratory" and I put the computer in a corner...

Richard Lemay focused his research on "Praefatio Castrensis"
attributed to Robert of Chester and rejected by Julius Ruska and Lee
Stavenhagen. It is a short preface dated 1182 (s. e. 1144) usually
related to the latin version of the Morienus' Testament. Julius Ruska
cast doubts about Chester's authorship and he had considered
"Praefatrio Castrensis" to be written at the late of the 15th century.

Ruska thought this is not a consistent and coherent piece for some
reasons. He called the attention in the claim to authorship of the
translation. At the same time Ruska cannot understand why
the translator said Morienus' Testament (a little work in 20 pages)
is a "masterpiece". The translator includes excuses for his youth
and scanty Latin but Chester was an experienced translator who
had just done the Koran a year before (1443). All arguments have
been assumed by Lee Stavenhagen in a (so called) Morienus'
Testament critical edition. Stavenhagen thinks it can scarcely be
dismissed as a complete forgery. However Richard Lemay refuses
those reasons with a systematic examination of the works translated
by Chester around 1142-1145, accompanied with a research into
the Hermann of Carinthia and Robert of Chester association
which was splitted on 1143.

Lemay attempts to sketch the personal impressions of Hermann and
Robert in the prefaces to their translations and he concludes the
"Praefatio Castrensis" appears as a coherent piece.

It is clear Stavenhagen's edition had been built with weak arguments.
I read a critical commentary in Halleux "Les Textes Alchimiques"
some years ago:
"...il a donne une edition d'un seul tate du texte, d'apres quatre
manuscrits, avec un apparat squelettique et un commentaire
inconsistant..." (p. 97).
For example, the critical edition affirms it was not until the 15th
century that Robert Chester's preface and Morienus' Testament
were all put together. However there is an early 14th century
copy in Bologna, Biblioteca Universitaria, Ms. 2082 (Lat.1062),
ff. 47r-v [preface], ff. 47v-54r [Morienus' Testament].
Of course this Bolognesse manuscript had been overlooked in
Stavenhagen's "Chart of the Latin Morienus Manuscripts
Families". Moreover, the name of Robert of Chester and the date
February 11, 1182 appears in a 13th century copy in Glasgow
Hunterian Library Ms. 253 (ff. 46v-53v). It is true that we can read
it in three lines added in the lower margin but it had been written
in the same hand as the text (mid. 13th century). As Robert Halleux
has suggested, probably the copist found a full version with preface
when he had completed his own copy, so he could only added the
translator name and the original date in a marginal note. At the
same time, Richard Lemay found copies with a rare roman numeral
year date (Millesimo centesimo XXC secundo) as they are
commonly found in the 12th century scientific manuscripts from
Spain.

Besides the personal impressions of Robert in the preface there are
other questions raised over and waiting for further research. For
example, the references to Hermes. Robert Halleux thinks "Prefatio
Castrensis" was set in the context of previous translations devoted
to alchemy: "Le prologue rvle la connnaissance d'autres textes. Il
semble donc avoir exist des traductions anteriures. Par exemple, la
reflexion su l'un (ex uno et per unum) fait penser la Table d'Emeraude".

We can understand the quotation to Hermes if Chester had read
previous translations focused on alchemical-hermetical elements.
The "Liber Hermetis" (Liber Rebis / Liber Dabessi) is a possible
source. It seems to be a translation by Plato of Tivoli dated around 1140.
The preface also had been attached to hermetical treatises because
of his notes on Hermes. We can find it into Liber Hermetis Mercurii
Triplicis de VI rerum principiis (14th century copy) and Septem
tractatus seu capitula Hermetis Trimegisti (13th century copy).
Could one of these texts be the original writting translated by Chester?

Ruska had studied another version of the "Praefatio Castrensis"
attached to "Septem tractatus" in printed editions. It does not include
the name of Robert of Chester. He called it "Praefatio translatoris"
and he supposed it was the oldest one. But Michela Pereira has
recently demonstrated that the first Latin copy (13th century)
includes "Praefatio Castrensis" with the names of Chester and... Morenius.

As Didier Kahn had proposed, "Praefatio Castrensis" and "Septem
tractatus" are two different pieces combined by an anonymous latin copist.

Sources:
- ROBERT HALLEUX, (1996), "La rception de l'alchimie arabe en Occident",
in: Regis Morelon (ed.), Histoire des sciences arabes, t. III, pp. 143-154
- DIDIER KAHN, (1990-1991), "Note sur deux manuscrits du Prologue
attribue Robert de Chester", in: Chrysopoeia, 4, pp. 33-34 [in French].

- MICHELA PEREIRA, (2003), "I Septem Tractatus Hermetis. Note
per una ricerca" in: Paolo Lucentini et al. (eds.), Hermetism from late
antiquity to humanism, Brepols Publishers, pp. 651-680.

Regards,

Jose Rodriguez



Subject: ACADEMY: Orthelius
From: Rik
Date: 6 Aug 2004

I wonder if anyone can assist me.
On Adam's site the images of Orthelius have a consecutive numbering
of 1 to 12, whereas I have recently seen in 'The Arts of the Alchemists'
by Burland that the no.'s go prima, secunda, tertia, quarta, quinta then
Septa and the sequence starts again from prima to sexta.
This suggested to me that there are two perhaps separate sequences
and that the first has 7 plates from which the sexta is missing and the
second series has 6 plates.

This appears to be implied also in Adams comments
www.levity.com/alchemy/emblem_series.html

[Orthelius] Commentateur de la Nouvelle Lumiere Chimique de Michel Sendivogius
polonais, augmentée et ornée de douze figures qui ont ete Trouvées en Allemagne et
publies en faveur de Enfans eléves de la Philosophie hermetique traduit d'allemand en
latin et de Latin en francois.
p24 [Figure 1. Hills with stream running down cliff into river.]
p38 [Figure 2. Round, brick built furnace with retort receiving apparatus.]
p40 [Figure 3. Two distilling furnaces with retort receiving apparatus set upon stools.]
p42 [Figure 4. Man working pestle in a large mortar. Liquid pours from flat vessel on
table into round receiver.]
p47 [Figure 5. Flask is set on table in front of a window on the left, and exposed to
light. On the right is a square furnace.]
p50 [Unnumbered illustration. Flask beside window is set on top of a pan of red hot
coals. the long neck oif the retort is led out through a small hole in the window.
Within the flask are two layers labelled "marmor" and "spongia". A pipe runs out
of the lower part of this vessel into a round flask.]
p53 [Figure 6. Illustration is split into two parts. On the left a wooden bucket full of a
brown earth stands on an open plain. On the right a bucket full of green vegetation
stands under the Moon, Sun and Stars.]
p56 [Figure 7. A man stands and stirs the contents of a large wooded bucket.
Beside him is a small bucket on a chair.]
p69 [Figure 8. A man seated at a table uses compasses, and holds a long roll of paper.
Through the open door we look out on a miner with hammer and chisel working in a cave.]
p81 [Figure 9. A man seated at a table shapes the neck of a flask.]
p85 [Figure 10. Two Furnaces. That on the left is a tall cylindrical furnace of
light brown bricks, while on the right is a square furnace of blue bricks.]
p89 [Figure 11. A scene of a man ploughing a field while behind him another
casts the seed. On the left is a hut within which a man is seen.]
p92 [Figure 12. Shows a tower and a low round wall like that around a well.
From this well a pillar of smoke arises. On the right is a strange egg shaped enclosure
with the pans of a scales. This is set on a hemispherical shape with what could be
a space below for heating up the egg shape above.]
p 288 [At end there is pasted in a printed section showing the armorial devices of
Nicolas Lambert 1594, Thorin Richard 1595, Pierre Parfait, echevin en 1626,
Charles le Comte 1613.]
[12 of these fine watercolour illustrations are found as engraved versions in
Commentarius in 'Novum Lumen Chymicum Michaelis Sendivogii Poloni,
XII. figuris in Germania repertis illustratum', included in Theatrum Chemicum,
1661, vi. p. 397, also Manget, J.J. Bibliotheca Chemica Curiosa,1702, ii, p. 516.]

My question is, does anyone know of this extra plate and where it could be found;
and what is being referred to by the terms 'marmor' and 'spongia' ?

Kind regards
Rik



Subject: ACADEMY: Orthelius
From: Adam Mclean
Date: 6 Aug 2004

Dear Rik

>suggested to me that there are two perhaps separate sequences
>and that the first has 7 plates from which the sexta is missing and the
>second series has 6 plates.

This seems to be an artefact of the way in which the illustrations were
depicted in Magnet's 'Bibliotheca Chemica Curiosa'.
In the earlier version in the 'Theatrum Chemicum' vol VI, 1659-61
these appear as a series of individual woodcuts.
You also quote my descriptions from MS Ferguson 45
which follows the same sequence, though the illustrations are
delightful watercolour drawings.

In the version in the 'Bibliotheca chemica curiosa', 1702,
the illustrations are in the form of two full-page engravings.
This is what Burland reproduces in his 'The Arts of the alchemists'
The first engraving shows illustrations 1 through 6 and the
marmor-spongia illustration. The marmor-spongia illustration
is labelled 'sexta' and illustration 6 as in the 'Theatrum Chemicum',
is labelled septima.

The marmor-spongia illustration is different in structure from
the others, not appearing in a rectangular frame, and shows
a flask rather than an emblematic image. In the Manget engraving
it is placed below the others and on its side.

>My question is, does anyone know of this extra plate and where it
>could be found;

I will try and locate a copy and post it out through the academy.

>and what is being referred to by the terms 'marmor' and 'spongia' ?

"Marmor" is "marble", and "spongia" is "sponge" in Latin,
but I think one would have to read the text itself to discover
what these terms meant in the context.

Adam McLean



Subject: ACADEMY: Mohammed Ibn Umail question
From: Daniel Burnham
Date: 6 Aug 2004

I have some questions regarding a quote by Marie-Louise von Franz in
'Alchemy: An Introduction to the Symbolism and the Psychology'.

From page 113:

"Actually we know that Mohammed ibn Umail was one of those damned robbers
who broke open pyramids and investigated the inner coffin chambers. In those
times the Arabs destroyed a great number of pyramids, stealing all the gold
in them, so that nowadays most pyramids are empty, but Senior, or Mohammed
ibn Umail, did not do it as most of the others did, just to find and steal
the gold, but because he projected into the death chamber of the pyramids the
alchemical secret.
~~~~~He thought, as we discover in the succeeding part of the book, that the
Egyptians knew alchemy, and that what was to be found in the innermost chamber
of the pyramid was the secret of alchemy, but what was written in the old
Egyptian language he could not read, which is why he speaks of a barbaric
language - this was before Champollion, as you know.~ So he thought that in
those mysterious hieroglyphic signs was written the secret of alchemy,
and as he describes in another text, he found a mummified queen in a gold
coffin who had a pair of scissors and little bowls of gold and he was
absolutely sure that that was the queen of alchemy, and that the instuments
hidden in the coffin of the Egyptian queen were symbolic allusions to the
alchemical work."

Does anyone know what sources indicate these tomb-exploring practices of
ibn Umail?

Is there a source that contains an explanation as to why ibn Umail associated
alchemy with Egyptian burial chambers?

Were there other Arab (or Greek) alchemists who thought the same thing?

Any help with these questions would be greatly appreciated. Unfortunately,
the von Franz lectures do not include any reference material.

Thank you,
Daniel Burnham



Subject: ACADEMY: Mohammed Ibn Umail question
From: Adam McLean
Date: 6 Aug 2004

Dear Daniel Burnham,

>Does anyone know what sources indicate these tomb-exploring
>practices of ibn Umail?
>Is there a source that contains an explanation as to why ibn Umail
>associated alchemy with Egyptian burial chambers?

This is probably expanded from Ibn Umail's vision of the temple
in his book al-Ma al-waraqui.

>Any help with these questions would be greatly appreciated.
>Unfortunately, the von Franz lectures do not include any reference material.

There has recently been published a little book dealing with
exactly this question. It shows an image of Ibn Umail's vision
of the temple from a 14th century manuscript in Istanbul. This
image seems to have influenced the emblem in the 'Aurora
consurgens' manuscripts usually thought to depict a seated
Hermes, holding a book open on his knees, while birds with
bows and arrows hover above him.

Theodor Abt.
The Great Vision of Muhammad Ibn Umail.
C.G. Jung Institute, Los Angeles, 2003.

This should answer some of your questions.

Adam McLean



Subject: ACADEMY: Mohammed Ibn Umail question
From: Iain Jamieson
Date: 7 Aug 2004

Dear Daniel Burnham

The work by Ibn Umail (or Senior) to which Von Franz refers is his
Kitab al-Ma'al-Waraqi wa'l-Ard al-Najmiyah (Book of the Sivery Water
and the Starry Earth), an auto-commentary on his Risalat al-Shams ila'l-Hilali
(Letter from the Sun to the Cresent Moon).

In the introduction to this work he says that he and a companion:

"A second time entered into Busir, the prison Of Yusuf, known as Sidar Busir.
We went towards the Pyramid (Birba') which the keepers opened, and I
saw on the roof of the galleries of the Pyramid a picture of nine Eagles with
out-spread wings, as if they were flying, and with outstreached and open claws."

He goes on to describe the image familiar from the 'Tabula Chemica". which is a
Latin translation of the first half of the auto-commentary. In this the Arabic Birba'
is rendered as Barba !

The full text of the Arabic and Latin versions was edited by H.E.
Stapleton in: Memoirs of the Asiatic Soc. of Bengal 12, (1933).

Iain Jamieson



Subject: ACADEMY: Morienus again
From: Rafal T. Prinke
Date: 12 Aug 2004

Dear Jose,

Thank you very much for your exhaustive reply.

> Sorry. I couldn't send you an earlier answer. Right now the beach is my
> "laboratory" and I put the computer in a corner...

I have just returned from mine - which is in the mountains -
and am trying to catch up with things.

> Lemay attempts to sketch the personal impressions of Hermann and
> Robert in the prefaces to their translations and he concludes the
> "Praefatio Castrensis" appears as a coherent piece.
> Moreover, the name of Robert of Chester and the date
> February 11, 1182 appears in a 13th century copy in Glasgow
> Hunterian Library Ms. 253 (ff. 46v-53v).

So at least we can still use the date as the beginning
of Latin alchemy.

> We can understand the quotation to Hermes if Chester had read
> previous translations focused on alchemical-hermetical elements.
> The "Liber Hermetis" (Liber Rebis / Liber Dabessi) is a possible
> source. It seems to be a translation by Plato of Tivoli dated around 1140.

But these may have been gnostic/philosophical works that he
referred to. Unless "Liber Hermetis" was indeed translated
earlier and was known to Chester.

> - ROBERT HALLEUX, (1996), "La reception de l'alchimie arabe en Occident",
> in: Regis Morelon (ed.), Histoire des sciences arabes, t. III, pp. 143-154

I am eagerly awaiting the publication of this book in Polish
translation. The first two volumes were published quite
some time ago and the publishers tell me the third one will
be out by the end of this year (but they said the same last year!).
Once again, thank you very much for all the details.

Best regards,

Rafal



Subject: ACADEMY: Pandora woodcuts
From: Rafal T. Prinke
Date: 12 Aug 2004

Dear All,

The series of woodcuts from Reusner's _Pandora_ as described
and illustrated on Adam's site:

http://www.alchemywebsite.com/s_pandor.html

has 18 emblems, originally from _Buch der heiligen Dreifaltigkeit_.
However, in Ferguson's BC (vol. 2, p. 258) it is described
as having 42 woodcuts and nothing is said about different
sets or series. The same number is given in this on-line
offer (in the header):

http://www.polybiblio.com/marta/2264.html

As both references are to the third edition (1598), I wonder
if more woodcuts were added to it and what are they?

Best regards,
Rafal



Subject: ACADEMY: Pandora woodcuts
From: Adam McLean
Date: 12 Aug 2004

The Reusner book also contains the 'Donum Dei' series.

I have not seen the 1598 edition but the second edition of 1588 by the same
printer HenricPetri uses the woodblocks from the 1582 edition. Here
is my description of these from the 1582 edition. I think there were a few small
woodcuts in the text also.


[Illustrations:-
Two series of woodcuts. The first a version of the 'Pretiosissimum donum Dei' consisting of 12 figures, and the second the series of 18 figures from the 'Buch der heiligen Dreifaltigkeit' manuscript.
1. p22 118x90mm. First figure of 'Donum Dei' series.
2. p25 97x62mm. Second figure of 'Donum Dei' series.
3. p27 104x62mm. Third figure of 'Donum Dei' series.
4. p29 69x44mm. Fourth figure of 'Donum Dei' series.
5. p32 53x32mm. Fifth figure of 'Donum Dei' series.
6. p35 51x33mm. Sixth figure of 'Donum Dei' series.
7. p37 53x33mm. Seventh figure of 'Donum Dei' series.
8. p39 53x32mm. Eighth figure of 'Donum Dei' series.
9. p40 56x33mm. Ninth figure of 'Donum Dei' series.
10. p42 53x33mm. Tenth figure of 'Donum Dei' series.
11. p45 80x41mm. Eleventh figure of 'Donum Dei' series.
12. p48 71x42mm. Twelfth figure of 'Donum Dei' series.
13. p151-158 Eight small woodcuts (10x10mm to 44x46mm) of flasks, furnaces and hermetic vessels.
14. p201 Woodcut. 25x24mm. Black circle with cruciform arms.
15. p211 118x92mm. First figure of 'Buch der heiligen Dreifaltigkeit' series. The Work for the White and the Red. A naked Queen stands on two furnaces which have alembics set upon them, distilling liquids into two flasks. She holds in each hand an upside -down flaming torch. Behind the Queen is a tree bearing round fruits. Seven birds fly between the branches of the tree and the earth below, four flying downwards and three upwards. On the left and right are two rocky mountains, and upon the summit of each of these a young bird perches. On her crown a large bird perches, and to the left of her head is a Sun and to the right a Moon.
16. p213 118x88mm. Second figure of 'Buch der heiligen Dreifaltigkeit' series. Sublimation. A castellated tower rises out of a hexagonal basin set upon a base. From the left a crowd of six people approach. A lion rears up in front of them. From the right another crowd of six persons, are led by a man with a sword, who is cutting off the legs of a lion. In the air above this is a snake. On the left side of the basin lies a man, while on the right a Pelican rises up and pecks at its breast. On the tower that rises out of the basin are two symbols - two birds forming a circle ouroboros, by seizing each others tails, and above this two birds flying upwards
17. p215 119x88mm. Third figure of 'Buch der heiligen Dreifaltigkeit' series. The Separation and Conjunction for the Red Elixir. On the left is a figure of eight ouroboros. The lower circle is formed by two dragons seizing each others tails the uppermost being winged. The upper circle is formed by a single winged bird-dragon forming an ouroboros by seizing its tail in its mouth. On the right is a large flask into the neck of which a small flask is upended. Within this flask a naked queen labelled 'Venus' and a naked king labelled 'Mars', embrace on another. Below them is the word 'Mercurius'.
18. p217 118x90mm. Fourth figure of 'Buch der heiligen Dreifaltigkeit' series. The Elixir for the Red. A snake forms an ouroboros, at the top of which two sections project, that on the left ending in a older bearded man's face, while that on the right ends with the face of a youth. Above this is a pedestal with a crown set upon it. Within the circle of the ouroboros a strange bird-dragon breathes fire.
19. p219 120x90mm. Fifth figure of 'Buch der heiligen Dreifaltigkeit' series. The Generation of the Three Principles. Three furnaces stand in a row. The leftmost furnace heats an alembic and a liquid is collected in another flask. In the central tall furnace is an open-necked flask. On the rightmost a single flask stands in a waterbath. From a bucket above a stream of water falls from a tap into the water bath, and this water is lead away in turn through a tap into another bucket.
20. p221 118x90mm. Sixth figure of 'Buch der heiligen Dreifaltigkeit' series. The Rebis Hermaphrodite with two aspects. A crowned hermaphrodite with two faces, a male on its right side and female face on its left, walks in a landscape holding a sceptre in its right hand.
21. p223 120x89mm. Seventh figure of 'Buch der heiligen Dreifaltigkeit' series. The Rebis or two-aspected thing. A crowned and bat-winged hermaphrodite, with a male face on its right and female face on its left, stands upon a strange double head-ended creature with birds claws. This creature has at each end a human face looking downwards, a dragon head looking upwards, and two tails which entwine around the legs of the hermaphrodite. The left tail has a male and the right a female head. The hermaphrodite bears a crown on its chest and another on its belly. It holds in its right male hand a sword, which passes through a crown, and in the left hand it holds another crown.
22. p225 119x88mm. Eighth figure of 'Buch der heiligen Dreifaltigkeit' series. The Putrefaction Rebis. A crowned and bat-winged hermaphrodite, with a male face on its right and a female face on its left, stands upon two stones, one for Gold the other for Silver. The hermaphrodite holds a coiled snake in its right hand and a cup or chalice containing three snakes in its left. Above its head is a six-pointed star. Below its feet is a two-headed dragon, each of whose heads bites at and attempts to sever a channel or link between the Gold Stone and a small mountain on the left out of which grows a tree with seven Suns, and between the Silver Stone and a small mountain on the right bearing a tree with seven Moons.
23. p227 119x90mm. Ninth figure of 'Buch der heiligen Dreifaltigkeit' series. A teacher or philosopher sits in a hall with four columns. He holds a book open upon his knee, for five pupils to examine. On the left page of the open book is depicted a crescent and a full Moon above two dragons forming the ouroboros, the upper one being winged (as in emblems 2 and 3 of this sequence). On the right page are two Suns depicted over a sun face set in a larger circle. In the air above the philosopher, seven birds with bows in their claws, aim arrows at him.
24. p229 118x88mm. Tenth figure of 'Buch der heiligen Dreifaltigkeit' series. The Generation of the Elixir for the White and for the Red. A King and Queen are depicted between two elaborate fountains. The Queen sits upon a hexagonal basin or plinth. On the left a fountain rises out of a hexagonal basin, in which four small naked women bathe. From a spout above them shaped like a Moon a stream of water falls in a shower. On the right a fountain rises out of another hexagonal basin, in which four small naked males bathe. From a spout above shaped like a Sun, a stream of water descends.
25. p231 120x88mm. Eleventh figure of 'Buch der heiligen Dreifaltigkeit' series. Putrefaction, Sublimation, Coagulation. A double coat of arms is depicted. On the left is a shield, with a helmet at its top, upon which stands a naked woman with a star above her head and holding in her left hand a cup or chalice with three snakes, and in her right a dark disc. She is framed by two long wings which emanate from a Sun and Moon at her feet. On the shield below her, a dragon is heated above flames. It has two tails one with a crowned male head, the other with a crowned female head. Upon this dragon stands a black crow and upon that a white bird with wings outstretched. On the right is another shield, also with a helmet at its top, upon which stands a woman in a nimbus of flames surrounded by stars, holding above her head a disc or stone. On the shield below a dragon forming an ouroboros is heated upon flames. Upon this stands a white bird with wings outstretched, upon which stands a black crow. At the upper left corner is a Sun disc.
26. p235 61x90mm. Twelfth figure of 'Buch der heiligen Dreifaltigkeit' series. The Composition of the Elixir. Beside a furnace with three flasks inside it, a crowned woman, with a snake-like tail, perhaps a 'Melusine' or 'Lilith' figure, holds a spear which a naked woman guides to pierce the breast of Christ.
27. p236 117x89mm. Thirteenth figure of 'Buch der heiligen Dreifaltigkeit' series. The Generation of the Three Principles. Christ crucified is depicted as a double-headed eagle. On the halo around his head a triple-headed bird perches. Two birds fly above his wounded hands, which appear at the ends of the wings of the eagle, carrying crowns. Above his right foot which appears at the tail of the eagle a dark bird flies with a dark crown. His left foot is already crowned. He stands upon a strange double-headed body.
28. p239 118x89mm. Fourteenth figure of 'Buch der heiligen Dreifaltigkeit' series. Imbibition of the body. Above a shield, which bears the picture of a crowned woman supporting Christ crucified as a double-headed eagle (as in the previous emblem), a Christ figure holding an orb labelled 'corpus', places a crown on the head of a woman, labelled 'anima'. Beside them an old man or Father figure, labelled 'sapientia' watches. From above the winged dove of the Holy Spirit descends, bearing the label 'terra'. At the four corners stand the winged symbols of the Evangelists, The eagle of John, the lion of Mark, the bull of Luke and the man or angel of Matthew.
29. p241 119x90mm. Fifteenth figure of 'Buch der heiligen Dreifaltigkeit' series. Fermentation. A dragon, which grows on the trunk of a tree labelled 'arbor philosophorum', forms an ouroboros, by seizing its tail in its mouth. Within the circular space is a double-headed eagle. Above its head is a planetary disc labelled 'our Mercury' which is connected by rays to six other planets arrayed around the dragon - on the left, Sun, Venus and Jupiter, on the right, Moon, Mars and Saturn.
30. p243 121x88mm. Sixteenth figure of 'Buch der heiligen Dreifaltigkeit' series. The Flower of the Wise. Within a circular space a dragon lies on its back forming the ouroboros. It holds in its left claw a plant which grows out of the circle, and bears three flowers - the one on the left being red that on the right white. Below are the Moon on the left and the Sun on the right, and between them a six-pointed star in a disc, with five smaller planetary stars within it.
31. p245 118x90mm. Seventeenth figure of 'Buch der heiligen Dreifaltigkeit' series.
32. p247 119x90mm. Eighteenth figure of 'Buch der heiligen Dreifaltigkeit' series.
33. p287 32x23mm. Small woodcut of flasks.]



Subject: ACADEMY: Pandora woodcuts
From: Rafal T. Prinke
Date: 20 Aug 2004

Dear Adam,

Thank you for your explanations. I was alarmed that it
may have been an expanded edition.

> The Reusner book also contains the 'Donum Dei' series.

I did not realize that (Ferguson does not seem to indicate
that there were two works in one).

> I have not seen the 1598 edition but the second edition of 1588 by the same
> printer HenricPetri uses the woodblocks from the 1582 edition. Here
> is my description of these from the 1582 edition. I think there were a few
> small woodcuts in the text also.

I have now checked Duveen and he also gives "42 woodcuts" for
the 1582 edition. So it is certainly the same.

Best regards,
Rafal



Subject: ACADEMY: Bernard Biebel
From: Adam McLean
Date: 26 Aug 2004

I have a number of books on alchemy edited by or with commentaries
by Bernard Biebel.

In some of these books he includes some illustrations of some of his
drawings and paintings.

He seems to me to have been an excellent writer on alchemy, of
course unknown outsdie the French speaking world.

Does anyone have any biographical information on this alchemical
writer and artist ?

Perhaps we could establish a bibliography of his alchemical output.

Adam McLean



Subject: ACADEMY: Splendor solis
From: Elizabeth O'Mahoney
Date: 26 Aug 2004

Does anyone know about the currency of 'Splendor solis' in the early
modern period? I'm interested primarily in the extent of its popularity
in the Northern Netherlands during the seventeenth century, but ANY
direction relating to editions and readership would be welcomed.

Many thanks and best wishes,

Elizabeth O'Mahoney



Subject: ACADEMY: Bernard Biebel
From: Mike Dickman
Date: 27 Aug 2004

He works (or used to) in Trédaniel's bookstore just up the road from here
and appears in Axel Clévenot's film 'Le Secret des Alchimistes' as one of
two modern French alchemists. Nice feller.

As far as I know, his output (which often entails a rather arduous
textual "palaeontology") is quite small: The Pontanus Treatise I translated
was from his rendition into readability, as is the Lintaut on which I am
still working desultorily... Aside from a few articles in La Table d'Emeraude,
to my - admittedly restricted - knowledge, that's it.

Best,

Mike


Subject: ACADEMY: Medicine and Alchemy in the Buddhist Tantras
From: Stanislas Klossowski de Rola
Date: 27 Aug 2004

Dear friends,

Through the kind agency of Maja d'Aoust, librarian at the Philosophical
Research Society in Los Angeles, I was generously provided with a copy of:
"Rasayana Siddhi: Medicine and Alchemy in the Buddhist Tantras" by Edward
Todd Fenner, a thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for
the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Buddhist Studies) at the University of
Wisconsin - Madison 1979.

I am curious to know if anyone is acquainted with it. It is indeed one of the
very best texts on the subject that it has been my good fortune to read and
I highly recommend it although I am not certain as to how one would go
about obtaining copies of it.

All the very best,

Stanislas Klossowski de Rola


Subject: ACADEMY: Medicine and Alchemy in the Buddhist Tantras
From: Eve Sinaiko
Date: 28 Aug 2004

Stanislas Klossowski de Rola wrote:

>"Rasayana Siddhi: Medicine and Alchemy in the Buddhist Tantras" by Edward
>Todd Fenner,
>I highly recommend it although I am not certain as to how one would go
>about obtaining copies of it.

I believe it is possible to purchase most North American dissertations
through UMI (University Microfilms). If you are associated with a
university, the library probably is a UMI subscriber. But there is a way for
individuals to purchase copes too, I think:

http://www.umi.com/umi/dissertations/individuals.shtml#digdiss

Regards to the Academy,

Eve Sinaiko



Subject: ACADEMY: Bernard Biebel
From: Adam McLean
Date: 30 Aug 2004

I have the following works of Bernard Biebel in my library.

Aurach, Georges. Le jardin des richesses. Texte calligraphié et
préface par Bernard Biebel.
Editions Arma Artis. Neuilly-sur-Seine. 1978.

Lintaut, Henry de. Oeuvre Chymique du docte Henry de Lintaut.
L'Aurore suivie de l'Ami de l'Aurore. Notes et introductione Bernard Biebel.
Guy Trédaniel. Paris. 1978.

Revelation de la Parole Cachée par la Sagesse de Anciens
ou Généalogie de la Mère du Mercure des Philosophes.
Liminaire de Bernard Biebel.
Arma-Artis. Paris. 1978.

Pontanus, Jean. Epître du Feu Philosophique. Traduction,
introduction et figures Bernard Biebel.
Guy Trédaniel. Paris. 1981.

Traité sur la Matière de la Pierre des Philosophes en général.
Considérations liminaires et figures Bernard Biebel.
Guy Trédaniel. Paris. 1983.

Le livre de Roussinus sur l'operacion de la Pierre des Philosophes.
Et son commentaire par Bernard Biebel.
Guy Trédaniel. Paris. 1986.


Has anyone seen any other titles of his on alchemy ?



Subject: ACADEMY: Science in Medieval Islam
From: Adam McLean
Date: 31 Aug 2004

I have recently seen a reference to this book

Howard Turner
Science in Medieval Islam
University of Texas Press

I suppose some of the academy members know this book.
If they do, can I ask whether it has a substantial section
on alchemy? And if so whether they feel this is a reliable
account of the subject ?

Thanks,

Adam McLean



Subject: ACADEMY: Science in Medieval Islam
From: Ahmad Y. al-Hassan
Date: 31 Aug 2004

Dear Adam,

According to the reviews, Howard R. Turner the author of Science in Medieval
Islam, is a documentary and educational film and television writer who
served as Curator for Science for the traveling exhibition "The Heritage of
Islam, 1982-1983." The present work grew out from the author's involvement
with that project.

This is an introductory book for the general reader, suitable for secondary
level education. It has 262 pages with about 100 pages occupied by
illustrations. Out of fifteen chapters, alchemy is discussed in chapter 11.

My copy is displaced, but I have ordered another one and if I find something
of interest on alchemy, I shall write to you again.

Ahmad Y. al-Hassan